College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Associate Professor of Math Sarah Hand has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Recognition from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). This national award recognizes instructors who demonstrate a passion for learning, a willingness to support every student inside and out of the classroom and who participate in college committees to go beyond what is required to ensure student success. Named in honor of AACC’s former president and CEO, this designation has been established to recognize individuals who make a difference in the classroom.
“Sarah is so deserving of this distinction,” shared CSM Math Division Chair and Math Professor Dr. Stephanie McCaslin. “She truly goes above and beyond every day for our students and the entire college.”
As the coordinator of all developmental STEM math courses, Hand consistently considers the students, their backgrounds, the subject matter and individual challenges that they might face when designing the curriculum, according to McCaslin.
“Sarah just revamped all of the developmental math course structures so that student success was the key driving goal,” McCaslin added. Putting into place new alternatives for struggling learners, Hand has “created incentives for study,” McCaslin said, adding, “she has implemented safety nets so that students who fall behind have an opportunity for redemption.”
“I love my job!” Hand shared. “Every day is a new opportunity to connect with and help students. That’s why we are here. I am honored to receive this award and proud to be a part of the CSM community.”
Hand went on to thank McCaslin, CSM Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Eileen Abel and CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy.
“Everyone is so supportive,” Hand added. “All of us working together make a difference.”
In McCaslin’s nomination of Hand for the award, she wrote about Hand continuously going the extra mile for students.
“When it became obvious that students in shortened semester developmental courses were struggling with the pacing of the material, Sarah helped me and others develop a stop-gap preventative measure by instilling devoted study group times for those courses with specific trained tutors on each campus,” McCaslin explained.
In another example, Hand was part of the First in the World (FITW) team that rewrote math courses for students who are not pursuing a STEM-related degree. The FITW Maryland Mathematics Reform Initiative was a collaboration with the University System of Maryland along with other Maryland community colleges to address the mathematics pipeline issues facing students who transfer to four-year institutions. According to McCaslin, the intention of the core group at CSM – that included Hand, McCaslin and CSM Associate Professor of Math Donna Sperry – was to develop, implement and evaluate a pathway to accelerate developmental students’ progress into credit-bearing courses specifically for students taking college-level math in a General Education, non-STEM, program.
Hand is a member of American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) and Developmental Education Association of Maryland (DEAM,) and is the CSM Maryland Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (MMATYC) campus representative. This year, she also will be attending Achieving the Dream (ATD) conference, and she is a member of CSM’s ATD Data Squad. Hand co-advises the Prince Frederick Campus Math Team with Math Professor Josh Grosek and frequently volunteers for “Try College for a Day” and CSM’s Open House events. Hand is a member of the College Preparedness Committee and a leader in the IGNITE/LEAN Student Success Project. She also devotes her extra time on campus to faculty advising and volunteers in the Math Resource Center as a tutor to all math students.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.